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Agent-Assisted Task Management that Reduces Email Overload

By Andrew Faulring, Brad Myers, Ken Mohnkern, Bradley Schmerl, Aaron Steinfeld, John Zimmerman, Asim Smailagic, Jeffery Hansen and Daniel Siewiorek


RADAR is a multiagent system with a mixed-initiative user interface designed to help office workers cope with email overload. RADAR agents observe experts to learn models of their strategies and then use the models to assist other people who are working on similar tasks. The agents ’ assistance helps a person to transition from the normal emailcentric workflow to a more efficient task-centric workflow. The Email Classifier learns to identify tasks contained within emails and then inspects new emails for similar tasks. A novel task-management user interface displays the found tasks in a to-do list, which has integrated support for performing the tasks. The Multitask Coordination Assistant learns a model of the order in which experts perform tasks and then suggests a schedule to other people who are working on similar tasks. A novel Progress Bar displays the suggested schedule of incomplete tasks as well as the completed tasks. A large evaluation demonstrated that novice users confronted with an email overload test performed significantly better (a 37 % better overall score with a factor of four fewer errors) when assisted by the RADAR agents. Author Keywords Agents, email classification, email overload, intelligen

Topics: Design, Experimentation, Human Factors
Year: 2010
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